Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Matka Boska Częstochowska

[ Our Lady of Częstochowa ]

Fast forward to Sunday morning when we were getting up early to head to church. Wait...Wasn’t church supposed to be on Saturday evening? Well, it turns out that both of us had a funny mix-up.

On Saturday after our great lunch, we walked around Munich and checked out little shops with biersteins and other Munich souvenirs and checked out the other streets filled with people and artists. There was also a big crowd around the Rathaus clock tower, because on the hour the figurines under the clock dance around to music being played. It is very cool to see the huge statues of dancing characters spinning with the chiming bells.

Overall, the tour around was great, and then we walked a few blocks away to the church like we had planned. When we got there, however, the door was locked. Ciocia was shocked – what is going on? Church is at seven! We checked the signs, yup seven, and then Ciocia called her friend confused with what the issue was. Then her friend told her to check her watch – 6… how did we BOTH mess up! We laughed and Ciocia and I agreed that we were both dead tired anyways. We decided to get more rest that night and then wake up early for church the next day instead. It was a plan.

We actually didn’t get to bed too early since we were back home and skyping everyone back in the States again – it is actually incredible that we can all see each other’s faces overseas – especially for people like Babcia and Ciocia, who chat all the time, but never are able to have a face to the voice. It is also funny, because the conversations with Babcia, my mom and dad, me and Ciocia rotate in a smashup of Polish, English and German – and we burst out in laughter when I try to say something and slip in a German word on accident when I try Polish, or Ciocia just completely rambles to Babcia in German forgetting what language she was speaking in the first place – Babcia just staring clueless at the German banter. It was great.

After the calls, Ciocia decided to have a late night dinner, and treated me with yet another great surprise – another typical Bavarian meal. She had purchased some weiβwurst – almost just as famous as the beers at the Oktoberfest – and also made a delicious apple strudel. Neither of us is German, and this weekend was still a great German cultural experience!

Finally to bed, and waking up early the next morning to where this post began – Sunday morning mass. The evening before I made sure to call Nikolas – my next ride from mitfahrgelegenheit.de - to make sure that everything was set for the carpool the next day. I was not going to have another mix up. Everything was smooth, and so I had my stuff packed up all ready so that once we were done with church and other events for the day, everything was going to be good to head back home.

We took the train back over to the church and walking a few blocks from the station was very neat since all the people walking around us were also heading to the mass and you heard Polish being spoken around you. The church was actually very tiny – a small room that was shared amongst many international groups based off of the board in front, and people inside the little room, and lined out the door into the hallway with chairs.

What was neat for me was the fact that it had the painting of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa , an image closely associated – even representative national symbol – of the Polish Roman Catholic community. The mass was almost exactly – even down to the way the prayers were sung – like the experience I had growing up going to the Polish Church ‘ Our Lady of Częstochowa’ as a child with my family and even the church that I had my first holy communion. I was very happy to have attended church with Ciocia and it was a humble reminder to me about my family and my roots. It excites me for opportunities this year to experience Polish culture here in Europe as well and learn about my family and background even more as well.